DNC committee to decide Iowa’s First in Nation status

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) — Iowa will remain the first state to hold a nomination contest in the US presidential race for Republicans, but whether or not it will apply to Democrats could be decided this week.

Scott Brennan represents Iowa on the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Convention, which will begin a session Thursday.

“The committee did not receive an agenda, which is very unusual. We usually get it out in a week. So we haven’t heard anything,” Brennan said. “The assumption was always that we would be talking about the president’s nomination calendar.”

“The problem now is that the DNC opened up the whole process and lost control of the process in my view,” he added.

Iowa has had its first national status since the 1970s. In the spring, the DNC passed a resolution announcing that states entering early in the nomination process should meet three standards:

a. DIVERSITY; as required by Article 8 Section 3 of the Charter: including but not limited to racial and ethnic diversity, geographic diversity (including a mix of rural and urban voters, and including but not limited to one state from each region of the four regions as of defined by the DNC), union representation, economic diversity; and

b. COMPETITIVENESS: contributes to the party’s ability to win in general elections; and

c. FEASIBILITY; composed of three components: (1) the feasibility of planning a pre-window competition; (2) the ability to conduct a fair, transparent and inclusive nomination process; and (3) the cost and logistical requirements of campaigns in the state…

Iowa came under scrutiny in 2020 over chaos during that year’s Democratic meetings and delayed results.

Many Democrats believe that Iowa shouldn’t direct the nomination process because it doesn’t meet the three standards. However, Brennan believes Iowans offer a unique perspective.

“If they don’t leave a state like Iowa, in this process, in this process outside the window, what – you give up these rural and working people, these small town workers – what do you give up? those voices,” Brennan said.

Earlier this month, the midterm elections delivered a red wave of GOP victories across Iowa. The question posed by the DNC: Why would Democrats focus on a state that seems less and less focused on them?

“The first, second, and third congressional districts in Iowa — the registration numbers are such that they can be completely reversed,” Brennan said.

Brennan thinks if Iowa doesn’t get the attention that comes with going first, we probably won’t get much attention at all. “We’re not a big state, we’re not going to get the attention or focus on our issues that we have — that stems from the presidency process,” Brennan said.

Brennan said he entered Thursday’s meeting without a clear picture of what would happen, adding that the Democratic Party was hurt by uncertainty.

“If we can’t give them a calendar set in stone, they can’t put together a campaign and, you know, shame on us if we paralyzed our own candidate,” Brennan said.

The Rules Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday through Saturday. His recommendations should go to the entire DNC board. Sometime in February or March, the full DNC will finalize the 2024 Democratic nomination calendar and determine where Iowa will rank on it.